The disastrous coronavirus outbreak sweeping across Sydney and threatening the rest of the country was entirely avoidable. It is happening only because of the criminal negligence of the federal and New South Wales Liberal governments.
If Scott Morrison’s government had established a proper medical quarantine system, the Delta variant would not have seeded in the community. If the vaccine rollout had not been so comprehensively botched, the virus would not have been able to spread so easily. And if the NSW government had not refused to act quickly and decisively to lock down Sydney, the outbreak could have been contained and quashed, despite the federal government’s failures.
Going into lockdown fast and early works. This has been demonstrated repeatedly this year in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and now Victoria again.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian refused to do it. Even now, at the time of writing, New South Wales has still not implemented the kind of measures that were necessary to eliminate the virus during Victoria’s second wave last year. Short of more decisive measures, New South Wales faces a longer lockdown or, if the right-wing death cult has its way, a premature opening that could result in tens or even hundreds of thousands of people being infected.
This is a pivotal moment for the whole country. The consequences of implementing the right wing’s anti-lockdown arguments could not be clearer. The juxtaposition of the situation in New South Wales, where the virus is out of control, and in Victoria, which, despite a serious incursion of the Delta variant from Sydney, looks set to suppress it and come out of lockdown soon, should once and for all discredit the right-wing fanatics who vilified Victoria and other states that pursued a policy of zero community transmission.
But don’t expect the Liberals and the broader right to accept that they were wrong. There are already revived calls to give up on suppressing the virus in New South Wales and abandon the lockdown. If the virus continues to be transmitted across Sydney for weeks—or months—pressure will build on other states, particularly Victoria and Queensland, to relax their border restrictions.
As vaccination rates creep higher, the ghouls on the right will be increasingly shrill in their demands that we accept the need to “live with the virus”. Already, around the world, countries are opening up with vaccination rates far below the 80 percent or 90 percent or higher that epidemiologists say is necessary to prevent new waves of death.
The Liberals wanted Australia to accept the spread of COVID all along. They resisted every measure to protect public health and provide people with the financial support necessary to get through the pandemic safely. Resounding public sentiment against accepting the spread of the pandemic forced them to implement the measures that, until now, have resulted in Australia avoiding the kind of catastrophes that have engulfed the vast majority of countries around the world.
The “national solidarity” that allegedly marked the early days of the pandemic in Australia was always a facade. That has now been torn down, and we are in what will be an increasingly bitter struggle between those who want to prevent the virus sweeping Australia, and those who do not.
We know from the experience of the last eighteen months that it is possible to prevent this virus taking hold. We also know, by looking overseas, just how tragic the consequences of failing to do this could be. Many thousands of lives are at stake.
Red Flag stands with the people who want to defeat the pandemic, and against the political right that is arguing to let it rip through the country.
We’ll need to bring a lot of industrial power to bear if we’re going to win the enterprise agreements we need. That means putting serious organising work into preparing for open-ended strikes.
An undignified display: two vainglorious leaders of mid-level powers groping in front of 20,000 people. Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were clumsy with excitement as they embraced at Sydney’s Olympic Park on Tuesday, projecting unity ahead of well-publicised bilateral talks.
Justin Akers Chacón, a socialist based in San Diego, California, campaigns for worker and migrant rights in the US-Mexico border region and is the author of The border crossed us: the case for opening the US-Mexico border. He caught up with Red Flag to discuss immigrant rights in the US under Democratic President Joe Biden.
Early twentieth century Hollywood moguls declared themselves to be the bosses of a “dream factory”. They were the heads of an industry in which fantasies were splashed in technicolour glory across the big screen viewed by millions. Much ink has been spilled over the ideological nature of these fantasies. Less has been written on the reality of life in the factory. When the curtain is ripped away, Oz-like, the truth is revealed: Hollywood, and the film and television industry more generally, are sites of class exploitation and, at times, working-class retaliation.
Banksia Hill is a youth detention centre with an overwhelmingly Indigenous population and a notorious record of human rights violations. Detainees are regularly confined to their cells under “lockdown” conditions, which means that they are released from their tiny, suffocating rooms for only 10-30 minutes a day, as has been exposed by the ABC. One inmate spent 79 out of a total of 98 days in solitary confinement, according to Jesse Noakes in the Saturday Paper.
Not content with spearheading a concerted racist campaign against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and his repeated vile attacks on Aboriginal youth in Alice Springs, Peter Dutton has now turned his fire on migrants.